Even if you or your soon-to-be ex-partner do not move away then keeping in touch with the children is of paramount importance.
Bonding with the children is a continuing process that requires continual contact. Finding out how they are doing, what they are doing etc. – all in a way that is natural and unforced.
The ability to just call the children, or for them to call you is one of the most important parts of your relationship with them.
The major point here is not to overdo it. Not that I did, but some do, which can of course lead to friction. Splitting up would be ‘easy’ if it were not for the fact that you as ex are calling their telephone and potentially disturbing their schedule to speak to the children. Handling this with some ex-partners is like learning how to walk a tightrope. But it has to be done.
If however contact with the children is being made unnecessarily difficult, or stopped altogether even when you are playing fair, then it is a sign of parental alienation.
Prior to the lawyers letter I rang my children at most 4-6 times a month, as I saw them often enough. They would ‘ask’ to ring me as well. I was playing fair – too fair probably, doing that usual game of trying not to antagonise my wife. Nevertheless, she had already started to make it difficult prior to that letter. When the children asked to ring me I heard several times in the background “It’s a mobile phone – keep it short.” And she always stayed nearby when the calls were being made. The signals being given out here are “I don’t trust your father”, and calling him is too expensive – stop it.
Be aware of when this is happening and keep a note – it might come in handy.
Later after my children had moved away it became a lot more obvious. As I have already said I was ‘allowed’ to call twice a week. I managed to have it moved to the mid-week, then I could call four times a week. But it was always at the wrong time – either in the middle of the homework, during their evening meal, or they were getting ready for bed. My wife put the children to bed at 18:30, so the ‘communication window’ was quite narrow. And there was no help from my ex either – just a blanket “It is the wrong time”.
After a while the phone calls became ‘tainted’, i.e. zero spontaneity, the children knew that the mother did not approve, therefore there was no real conversation during these calls. These are textbook parental alienation tricks.
I bought Jonathan an ipod touch while I was in the States on a business trip, and he asked his mother if he could use ‘facetime’ to keep in touch. The answer was “No, he could see our home”. A solution was available if Jonathan face timed from his room, but no matter how often he asked it was not allowed.
Contact denial, or worse still torpedoed contact is classic alienation technique, even at a voice level. Not only does it turn contact into ‘a burden’, but also at a subliminal level starts to associate the absent parent with ‘being a problem’, which of course is exactly what the abusing parent wants.
Just as an aside here’s how it works with my new wife and her eight year old. She mostly communicates with her ex via Whatsapp. When he gets in touch she has no problem in letting her son write a few messages to his father, or even talking to him. When Felix gets a good mark at school she tells her ex, and he writes a message to Felix congratulating him. Or when he gets his school report she scans it and sends it to him, and he promptly congratulates Felix. Everybody is happy, especially Felix as three people are saying he did well. Needless to say any request from Felix to talk to his father is granted. Recently we were sending videos of Felix when he learnt to ride a bike.
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